Quaker Valley grad Merriman grows into leader for Wisconsin rowing
The skills she needs to steer a boat for the Wisconsin women’s rowing team have helped Quaker Valley graduate Jane Merriman in the classroom.
Merriman, a junior personal finance major, was named Academic All-Big Ten for students competing in spring and at-large sports.
To be eligible, a student must be on a varsity team, enrolled full-time at the school for a minimum of 12 months and carry a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or higher.
Merriman was one of 211 athletes, including 25 Badgers, selected in women’s rowing.
“Although it may seem like being smart makes someone a good coxswain, it’s the other way around,” Merriman said. “Being a coxswain yields strong performances in the classroom because we have to always be thinking about the situation and be determined to find the next solution to any problem.”
Wisconsin coach Bebe Bryans is impressed by Merriman’s ability to multitask.
“Jane is at her best because she is able to channel her competitiveness into the calls she makes to help her rowers either stay on track or improve upon things that aren’t serving them,” Bryans said. “She is able to draw four or eight people together and help them become one working unit, which is the most difficult thing about rowing.”
Merriman, a former standout on the Three Rivers Junior Rowing team on Washington’s Landing, coxed the third varsity four to fifth place at the conference championship regatta in May in Indianapolis. The Badgers came in third of eight teams to Ohio State and Michigan.
The Badgers went on to place 15th of 22 squads at the NCAA championship in Sarasota, Fla.
Bryans expects Merriman, who is 5 foot, to play a bigger part next season.
“Jane is ready to step into a leadership role within our coxswain corps,” Bryans said. “As a senior, one of her roles will be as a mentor to the new team members, helping them make the transition into a very different, collegiate environment and learning the Wisco (Wisconsin) Way.”
Merriman said it was a great honor making the academic all-conference team.
“I couldn’t have achieved it without the help of the (advisers), professors and tutors that I’ve worked with,” she said. “It’s a joint effort, and we all put in so much work, it’s really cool to see it pay off like this.”
Merriman would like to work one day for a nongovernmental organization, nonprofit or agency in financial literacy or microlending.
“My career plans are not nailed down yet, but I’m hoping to help women be more independent, knowledgeable and confident with regards to their finances,” she said.
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.